After watching Nathan Hrovat go about his business in the national championships it is no surprise to hear whose style he would most like to replicate.
“Sam Mitchell – he’s the one I’ve watched a lot this year and I’ve tried to model my game on,” he said.
Hrovat is a small midfielder whose dynamic approach wins plenty of the ball in midfield.
He won the MVP for Vic Metro at the national championships and was selected in the All-Australian team.
Like Mitchell, Hrovat keeps the stats counter ticking constantly. He modestly plays down his efforts at the carnival.
“I was pretty happy with my carnival, it was consistent,” he said. “To play a role with the team to the best of my ability and we were able to take out the championship.”
One of five boys from Carey Grammar to make the Vic Metro squad, he says he was assisted by having so many familiar faces around him.
“It’s always easier to go into things when you have boys you know around you, and mates,” he said.
“It was awesome having a couple of schoolmates going in with me and obviously there are very talented and have been able to progress through the program.”
Awareness of each other’s game had a benefit in purely football terms.
“On the field we know how each other plays,” Hrovat said. “When we play together we know what we are going to do. We’ve played together for six years.”
The Carey system obviously works.
“Paul Jepson is in charge of the sports program at Carey, and our coach is Marty Heppell who used to play for St Kilda and Melbourne,” Hrovat said.
“He was an awesome coach. He brought some good positive energy into the team.”
Hrovat started out at Mill Park footy club and then progressed to Northern Knights Under 18s.
He has had a good family background. “Dad played a bit of footy at Under 18 level at Carlton so he’s the person I’ve looked up to most coming through. He just sits back and lets the coaches do all the coaching.
“He just watches and gives the feedback when I ask for it.”
In the lead-up to the draft combine, Hrovat concentrated on his endurance.
“I’ve tried to work on a bit of fitness testing,” he said.
“But it’s hard coming out the back end of a season. You want to do a bit of gym work but you also need to give your body a rest.”
Rest on the footy field is something this young man never indulges in.